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Surprises Are Selection of Day

THE NBA DRAFT

First five picks go as expected, then some strange names begin cropping up in the first round.

June 29, 2005|Mark Heisler | Times Staff Writer

Everything went smoothly ... for five picks.

Then, after Andrew Bogut, Marvin Williams, Deron Williams, Chris Paul and Raymond Felton went to their expected teams (Milwaukee, Atlanta, Utah, New Orleans and Charlotte, respectively), the surprises started.

Danny Granger, Gerald Green and Hakim Warrick, projected as top 10 picks, wound up dropping all the way to Indiana, Boston and Memphis, respectively, at Nos. 17, 18 and 19.

In other words, assuming the scouting reports on Granger, Green and Warrick were as good as the others, Indiana, Boston and Memphis wound up getting lottery picks in the high teens.

As upsets go, said one general manager, this was "huge."

"We were shocked, to be honest, that he was at 18," said Celtic Coach Doc Rivers of Green. "It was a no-brainer once he was there."

Some players fell further than that. Chris Taft, the 6-8 1/2 Pitt center who started the season as the top-rated prospect, didn't even go in the first round, falling to Golden State at No. 42. Dropping to the second round with him was 7-1 Lithuanian Martynas Andriuskevicius, who went No. 44 to Orlando.

The fun started at No. 6. Portland, which had flopped its No. 3 pick with Utah, dropping down ostensibly to take prep shooting guard Green. Instead, the Trail Blazers took prep shooting guard Martell Webster, choosing the supposed "next Paul Pierce" over the supposed "next Tracy McGrady."

At No. 7, Toronto, expected to take Granger, shocked many by taking Charlie Villanueva, the Connecticut sophomore who's big (6-9, 240), athletic and flighty.

On the other hand, Toronto GM Rob Babcock is a known eccentric. Last year, he used the No. 8 pick for BYU's Rafael Araujo, recently described in the Toronto press as "the Brazilian bust."

Villanueva's going at No. 7 dropped Channing Frye to the Knicks at No. 8 ... and dropped prep center Andrew Bynum to the Lakers at No. 10. The Lakers feared that the Raptors would take Frye, the conventional pick, rather than Villanueva, and Knick boss Isiah Thomas would then take Bynum.

At No. 9, in between the Knicks and Lakers, the Warriors had their choice of Granger and Green and took ... Ike Diogu?

Diogu, a power player for his three seasons at Arizona State, was measured in bare feet at 6-6 1/2 at the Chicago pre-draft camp.

Granger wound up dropping all the way to Indiana at No. 17, where the Pacers were looking for a replacement for Reggie Miller but accepted the gift, even if he was a forward.

Green dropped to Boston at No. 18. GM Danny Ainge is going young and got an unexpected bonus. Warrick dropped all the way to Memphis at No. 19, where Jerry West pounced on him.

The maneuvering began before the draft when the Trail Blazers traded their No. 3 pick for Utah's No. 6 and No. 27 and a future No. 1. Then the Trail Blazers traded their Nos. 27 and 35 picks, Linas Kleiza and Ricky Sanchez, to Denver for its No. 22 pick, point guard Jarrett Jack.

The surprises continued to the end of the first round. With Taft, Andriuskevicius and Croatian point guard Roko Ukic, who had been projected to go in the teens, still on the board, San Antonio took an unknown, 6-10 Ian Mahinmi of France, who wasn't among the 129 prospects listed in the NBA's draft handbook.

The maneuvering continued into the night. The Suns sent their No. 21 pick, Washington's Nate Robinson, and Quentin Richardson to the Knicks for their No. 54 pick, UCLA's Dijon Thompson, and Kurt Thomas.

As expected, four North Carolina players -- Marvin Williams (2), Felton (5), Sean May (13) and Rashad McCants (Minnesota at No. 14), went in the top 14 picks. The only other school to do that was rival Duke, which had four in the top 14 in 1999 (Elton Brand at No. 1, Trajan Langdon at 11, Corey Maggette at 13, William Avery at 14).

With Wake Forest's Paul, Georgia Tech's Jack and North Carolina State's Julius Hodge, that made seven first-round picks from the ACC, as many as from overseas.

In the last year that high school players can make themselves available for the draft, only Webster and Green went in the first round, but six -- Sanchez, C.J. Miles, Monta Ellis, Louis Williams, Andray Blatche and Westchester High's Amir Johnson -- went in the second.

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(BEGIN TEXT OF INFBOX)

THE OVERVIEW

Utah center Andrew Bogut, as expected, is the first player chosen, joining the Milwaukee Bucks. There is a distinct blue feeling as four North Carolina Tar Heels -- Marvin Williams, Raymond Felton, Sean May and Rashad McCants -- go in the top 14. Deron Williams, meet John Stockton.

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THE NBA DRAFT

THE OVERVIEW

Utah center Andrew Bogut, as expected, is the first player chosen, joining the Milwaukee Bucks. There is a distinct blue feeling as four North Carolina Tar Heels -- Marvin Williams, Raymond Felton, Sean May and Rashad McCants -- go in the top 14. Deron Williams, meet John Stockton.

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NBA DRAFT ROUND 1

No.; TEAM ; PLAYER ; P; HT ; WT ; FROM; IT'S A FACT; THE WORD FROM THE TIMES' JERRY CROWE

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